The Tea Party just got a little more racist today. Ted Cruz, architect of the “Let’s just strap a bomb to our chests if we don’t get our way” plan, decided to tell the mother of George Zimmerman’s victim that Stand Your Ground laws are not racist. In fact, Ted even had the extremely cherry-picked statistics to back up his claim!
The data show that African American defendants have availed themselves of the Stand Your Ground defense more frequently than have Anglo defendants.
We’re going to give Ted this one. His claim is that black defendants who cite Stand Your Ground are successful 55% of the time, while white people are successful 53% of the time. No dispute–let’s say that this is true. Does this mean that Stand Your Ground laws benefit the African American community?
What about the other statistics we’re conveniently ignoring? According to a Tampa Bay Times study of around 200 cases, those who killed a black person walked free 73% of the time under Florida’s Stand Your Ground law. Those who killed a white person? 59% of the time. A white person who kills a black person in Stand Your Ground States is 354% more likely to be found justified than an African American killing a Caucasian.
Cruz’s shameless and willful disconnect with reality focuses on a slight difference in statistics, yet ignores the more important ones: It does not matter which racial group invokes Stand Your Ground more. It matters which group is victimized by the law.
John Lott, a pro-gun researcher, decided that Green Eggs and Bullshit needed a little help. Lott, who feels President Obama is not doing enough to highlight black on white crime, offered up some “supporting data”:
“If you’re going to concentrate on the fact that relatively few people who kill blacks are going to be convicted, you have to realize that most of those people who aren’t being convicted are blacks. Ninety percent of blacks who were killed in cases where Stand Your Ground was invoked as a defense were killed by other blacks.”
Once again, we seem to be conveniently ignoring the actual racial imbalances. When we consider other data, again, this helpful addition by Lott does nothing to show that Stand Your Ground laws in any way help the African American community.
Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon Martin’s mother, joined Al Sharpton to discuss the incident:
I think there’s some disconnect there. I think he certainly is not aware of the real law and how it affects us as a community. I have a real problem when teenagers are afraid to walk to the store for a drink and candy. There are issues there. You want everyone to feel comfortable, and you want everybody to feel safe in their neighborhood….something needs to be fixed.”
Only time will tell if this woman, whose son was taken from her because these laws allowed Zimmerman to stalk, initiate a confrontation with, and murder Trayvon Martin, will come around to Senator Cruz’s way of thinking.
We’re not holding our breath.
Watch the full video below: